Art Carter has earnest intents. With his latest album Texture, he freely sheers his faith, his love of country and a generally giddy perspective that’s manifest in songs that would find a free reign on top 40 radio and any arena where pure pop is predominant. The better songs on the album — “Mighty Mississippi,” “My Friend,” “You Are the One,” and “Friday Night” each paint a picture of carefree carousing and sublime sentiment. Catchy choruses makes songs like “Sunshine Shuffle” and “I Can’t Change” especially addicting, and with a crack band in tow, Carter seems to have found a naturally effusive groove. At times, his tone takes on a note of abject preachiness; the song “Lord Thank You for Your Happiness” for example would best be shared in Sunday school class and not in the context of otherwise modest melodies. And while the patriotic sentiments expressed in “America Shine Bright” are admirable indeed, the song finds an odd juxtaposition in an album filled with more frivolous fare.
Still, with 15 songs to choose from, there’s plenty of material to please those that lean towards lighter discourse. And indeed, Carter has a knack for creating snappy songs of the sing-along variety. Even on those tunes where the object of his affection isn’t ready or willing to share his feelings — “Cold Hearted Woman” and “Hard To Be a Man” being two obvious examples — the melodies remain unabashedly bright and buoyant. It’s that ardent optimism that defines Carter’s sound and style, and proves so pervasive throughout